When Shauna Coxsey was just four years old, she was transfixed by her television set. A women’s climbing competition was being screened and Shauna was immediately hooked - her dream had begun. Fast forward twenty years and that dream has become reality.
It’s a rare four-year-old who gets hooked on climbing, and rarer still for someone so young to map out their career path, but that’s exactly what Shauna did. She took her moment of inspiration and used it to go full throttle and pursue her dreams. But, Shauna appreciates not everyone is lucky enough to realize their dreams so young, which is why she plays a big part in inspiring the next generation of climbers.
"Bouldering is my favorite thing to do. It’s social, it’s exciting and it’s something everyone can participate in. Everyone should try climbing, it’s the perfect way to stay fit."
It really helped me to meet new people, and as I got older it gave me the opportunity to travel and see the world. It’s a challenging and satisfying sport which I think loads of people would enjoy.
Shauna’s enthusiasm and ability led to a rapid ascent to the top of the world rankings. She went from a four-year-old with a dream, to a 23-year-old with a world title. Her passion for the sport shines through, no more than when she talks about the Women’s Climbing Symposium - an event she created with a friend aimed at connecting, developing, and inspiring women all over the world.
"It’s an event I’ve organized for six years now and it’s really important to me - I want to give as much as I can back to the community," she beams.
"It’s vital to inspire and encourage people to get involved in the sport, whatever age they are. It’s great for climbing, and it’s great for people to stay active and keep fit."
Being an icon of her sport, Shauna is relishing the spotlight as a role model as she looks to encourage a new wave of women to start climbing.
"It was born out of an idea from a friend and myself. I was coaching a women’s class and there were very similar barriers these girls were each facing. I thought these barriers weren’t necessary, so I wanted to open the sport up and break down these barriers. Nothing should stop you trying something new!"
"The event has evolved into a celebration of women in climbing, and I walk away every year feeling so inspired."
As well as constantly pushing her physical boundaries, the Symposium has helped Shauna step out of her comfort zone and push her personal boundaries.
"Putting together this event wasn’t really something I thought I’d be doing, but it’s great to try things you don’t think you’re good at – to work on your weaknesses. It’s certainly challenging, but it also shows the best results."
In summer 2016, Shauna became IFSC Boulder World Cup Champion and took the world number one spot with it. But despite realizing her dream at such a young age, Shauna hasn’t lost her focus to achieve even more in her career.
"It’s daunting to know that I’ve already achieved the biggest goal I’ve set myself," she admits. "But I think for anyone in sport, men or women if you set yourself a goal and you’re willing to work as hard as you can to get there. If you want it enough, it’s possible."
Inspiring women and being inspired by them, the future of female climbing looks bright with Shauna Coxsey at the helm.
Warm-Up with Shauna - Training Tips from a Champion
"Warming up for climbing is really important, and I do it every single time I climb. I use a theraband to warm up my shoulders to get the muscles activated. Then I do scapular pull-ups, using your scapulars to move your shoulder blades - kind of like mini pull ups."
"Handstands are a great way to get your shoulders warm and to get them mobile and to warm your wrists up. Doing mini shrugs in a handstand is great too."
"When I’m climbing I do warms ups before I get on the wall and when I first get on the wall too. Climbing around and warming up on the wall is just as important as off the wall."
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